Where Are the Inspiration Imps When You Need Them?

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I’m having one of those uninspired moments about, well, everything. Perhaps it is the change of seasons; perhaps it’s the idea that that icy-white specter of winter looms just weeks away. Or maybe it’s the side-effect of caffeine deprivation.

It’s probably the caffeine deprivation. Sometimes I really miss it.

Whatever it is, today there is a wall between me and that creative part of my brain, and no matter how I knock, it’s not answering. Why would it? It’s probably off doing something creative. I only wish it had invited me.

But here’s the thing. Inspiration or no inspiration, drive or no drive, caffeine or no caffeine, I’m plowing ahead. Creative work doesn’t get done if you wait for the Inspiration Imps to gild your path with feathery motivation. Inspiration Imps are notoriously unreliable.

It’s an imp thing.

No, the work grows and shapes and breathes precisely because of those times when the imps are frolicking without their cell phones in some inaccessible area. That is when you have to roll up your sleeves and face the keyboard. Well, you don’t literally have to roll up your sleeves, because it’s not like they are going to get dirty or wet, and if they are, then you have some computer maintenance issues.

But the point still stands. Imps or no imps, onward I go.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Begone, Cozy Thoughts

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Today is gray and gloomy, and is the kind of day for curling up on the sofa and watching something set in another time period, preferably produced by the BBC. But it is not that day.

Nope. Today, like the days before it, is for editing.

Yes, I’ve reached that point in the editing process, where escape into someone else’s tidy, edited world sounds much, much nicer than continuing with my own heavy lifting. But if I don’t do it, who will?

We talk about the magic of writing, the flow of writing, which, when you achieve it, is worth twice the price of admission. But we don’t often talk about the work of writing, the grind to get from idea to shining finished product. Not all parts of the process are pretty.

It’s like getting a fish from the water to the table. The steps in the middle aren’t that pleasant, but have to done if you’re going to eat the fish. Not that I’ve ever cleaned a fish. Or eaten a manuscript. I have eaten my words, though I think I may have strayed just a bit from the point here.

Getting a book from concept to finished product is an endurance race, and it’s a race with only yourself. Too many sofa days, and you never get to the end.

So take that, cozy corner.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Remember the Point

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As I sat down to write a blog post about, well, writing, I thought about the posts I’ve read about writing, and I thought about all tweets I’ve read about writing, and I came to one conclusion. We writers definitely talk about writing a lot. Like constantly. As though it was an obsession or something.

But then I wondered: how much are we actually writing?

I’m including editing in the scope of the writing process, partially because that’s where I am right now, and partially because you don’t have anything worth reading without editing. So how much are we doing?

When we’re blogging, we could be writing, although if you blog what you write, (hmm, that sounds rather obvious, doesn’t it? But you know what I mean), if you blog the fruit of your labors, then you’re ahead of the game. When we’re tweeting, we could be writing. When we’re breathing, we could be writing.

There is the stuff around the writing and the writing itself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff, but it grows and it multiplies until you can’t see the writing for all the stuff.

Remember the writing. That’s what it’s all for. The stuff should be the extra, not the main event, I say blithely as I finish off another blog post.

I’m going, I’m going.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Race and Writing

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If you read my work, you might notice that I don’t describe a lot of physical aspects of my characters. I generally give height if someone is unusually tall or short, and maybe any other specifically identifying characteristics, but I tend, as a whole, to leave out hair color, eye color, and, particularly, skin color, unless it is necessary for the story.

Why?

I do it very deliberately. My real-life world is a colorful one. On a daily basis, I interact with people with a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, age, nationality, orientation, weight, you name it. I chose the area where I live because of its diversity; it is important to me, as a person, to have diversity around me.

Because of that, in my mind, my books are widely diverse places, stocked with characters of a range of backgrounds. But the way I imagine my characters may not be the way you imagine my characters.

People like to see themselves in the books they read, and so I try to keep their ability to do so as open as I can. The way I envision the skin color of one character may not be the way you do. If it doesn’t matter for the plot, I’d rather let you have your vision, unencumbered by mine. I try to give my characters life through their personalities, through their dialogue, through their choices and actions, and not through the color of their hair or the shade of their skin.

I suppose this works in reverse, too, with people uncomfortable with diversity mentally stripping the color from my imaginary worlds. The reality is that, though I wish everyone saw the world the way I do, not everyone does.

But if it leaves room for a person who doesn’t often see himself or herself represented in literature to find kinship in my pages, then something’s working the right way. I can’t put every kind of person in my books, but if I leave it open enough, you might be able to find every kind of person in my books, and for me, that’s a big win.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Editing Slow-Down

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Well, between the drilling–punctuated today with some enthusiastic hammering–and the migraine that’s been going since last week, my editing roll has stopped rolling. Which is a shame.

But when you are trying to type and you cannot remember how to spell “hire,” and instead, are stuck on “higher,” it’s probably an indication that editing won’t be as effective as you might have hoped. With the insistent noise today, I’m not sure it’s going to clear. Though it has to clear. I have things that must be done today.

A day of cool, perfect silence would be ideal, but cool, perfect silence is a rare commodity lately. Cool I have, as the temperatures have turned toward the decidedly fall-y, but perfect silence?

Not so much.

So I will pop my acetaminophen, and look forward toward their lunch break. I mean, these guys have to eat lunch, right?

As for the editing, we’ll see how it goes. Keep your pencils crossed for me.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Plot Points, A to G

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I.L. Wolf:

I’m still editing, but I figured I’d share something with you today. Maybe not something I’ve written myself, but something which is, I think, a good read. When you’re stuck in your writing, never underestimate your ability to leave clues for yourself. SloopJonB explains below.

Originally posted on sloopjonb:

Today I was working on the closing story in the (mostly) Serious Fantasy Sequence, and I scored a plot point. I wrote a while ago about how it was fun and useful to build up backstories for your characters, even if you never use all the details. It helps you define the character in your own mind, but, also, you may find as I did today that those details can come in very useful. I needed to get characters A and R to Castle G. G is far away from A & R’s home town, it is deserted and dangerous. A & R are only sixteen (going on seventeen) and there is no way they would be allowed to make such a long and hazardous journey on their own. OK, thinks I, perhaps they could break the journey up by going to B first, where they can pick up a…

View original 223 more words

Editing Beckons

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Gone EditingThere’s a magic spot that happens with every manuscript, where you summit the seemingly insurmountable peak of editing, and it starts to snowball.

I am finally there.

So I may not be the best blogger in the world for the next little bit, or the best tweeter, or the best, well, anything. I’ll be off and away with my manuscript, my metaphorical red pen, and this mass of a thing that is starting to pull itself together. And in the not-too-distant future, perhaps, perhaps, I will have a new book.

And how exciting is that.

In the meanwhile, if you miss me and my random thoughts, feel free to check out one of my books below. Happy writing and reading to all.

Now where’s my helmet and my eye protection? This could get messy.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!